In 1815 Colonel Henry
Perry established a military camp here as part of a
plan to invade Spanish Texas. In 1816 Galveston-based
privateer Louis-Michel de Aury forced shiploads of
captured African Slaves to walk from this point to New
Orleans along old Indian Trails. Aury is credited with
naming the point after South American liberator Simon
While commanding a filibuster to win Texas
independence, James Long established Fort Las Casas on
Bolivar Point in 1820-21. His wife, Jane Herbert
(Wilkinson), gave birth to a daughter, Mary James, in
December 1821 at the fort. Mary James Long is often
referred to as the first Anglo child born in Texas.
A lighthouse, erected here by the Federal government
in 1852 and later dismantled by Confederate soldiers
during the Civil War, was rebuilt after the war. Many
area residents sought shelter within the lighthouse
during the damaging storms of 1900 and 1915.
The Gulf and Interstate Railroad was completed from
Beaumont to Bolivar Point in 1896. A boon to peninsula
farmers, the railroad was destroyed in the 1900 storm,
then rebuilt in 1903. Ferry service, purchased by the
Texas Highway Department in 1933, continues to provide
free public access to Galveston Island.